270-bed apartment-style building put on hold

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

A proposed 270-bed apartment-style building is on hold for now at Eastern New Mexico University.

The university’s board of regents said Saturday they want to see what happens with the proposed closing of Cannon Air Force Base before moving ahead with the project.

ENMU has partnered with Collegiate Development Services of Dallas to pursue the development of the facility. A request for proposal was sent out for the services and Collegiate Development Services was selected.

“We’re doing an analysis of the data with BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) looming over us,” University President Steven Gamble said. “Until something is decided by BRAC, it would be premature to finalize anything.”

Gamble said if CAFB is closed, he’s not sure what will happen with base housing located west of the campus. If CAFB is closed, Gamble said it would hurt the university’s enrollment by 10 to 15 percent.

ENMU had 3,692 students enrolled this spring and 3,959 enrolled in the fall.

These are numbers on which New Mexico bases its funding.

Gamble said Chavez Hall, a student residence hall, is in bad shape. The proposal would have the new apartment facility built behind Chavez Hall. Gamble said the cost of renovation of Chavez Hall would be more than $1 million for the 56-bed facility, something Gamble and other ENMU officials considered too high.

Gary Musgrave, vice president for student affairs, said Chavez Hall is more than 50 years old.

Officials estimate the 270-bed facility would cost $11.6 million to $11.9 million. Gamble said a recommendation from university officials for the option of the apartment facility won’t come before the regents until October.